The Miami Heat are showing no signs of slowing down. With a 108-94 win over the Orlando Magic Monday night, the defending NBA champs extended their winning streak to 27 games with their sights set on the 33-game mark set by the 1971-72 Los Angeles Lakers.
LeBron James got off to a slow start, but he came on strong in the final 15 minutes, finishing the game with 24 points, nine rebounds and 11 assists.
The Heat also got key contributions from Mario Chalmers, Chris Bosh (though he was 4-of-14 from the floor) and Ray Allen, who combined for 41 points in the contest. The trio picked up the slack with Dwyane Wade once again on the bench with a bruised right knee.
After jumping out to an early lead, Miami allowed Orlando to chip away toward the end of the first quarter. Jameer Nelson drained a pair of free throws with five seconds left in the frame to tie the score at 28-28, and most of the second quarter was all Orlando.
The Magic led by as many as six halfway through the second quarter, but Bosh and Chalmers took over, each making multiple trips to the charity stripe in the final five minutes of the half. By the 3:28 mark, Miami held a 50-42 lead, which it extended to nine points by the half.
Orlando hung around in the third quarter, at one point tying the game at 68-68 on a Nelson 25-footer, but James came on strong with seven points in the final two minutes of the period. When the dust settled, the Heat were ahead by 10 points with 12 minutes to play in the game.
As he has done so many times during Miami’s impressive streak, James took over in the fourth quarter. He tacked on nine more points in the frame, while Allen came alive with a trio of three-pointers, squashing Orlando’s hopes of ending the streak. The Magic never pulled to within 10 points, at one point trailing by as many as 20.
While James stole the show in the final 15 minutes, Jameer Nelson and Tobias Harris did their part to stave off the surging Heat. The pair combined for 47 points on 50-percent shooting, including 7-of-13 from behind the arc.
E’Twaun Moore and Kyle O’Quinn added 13 and 12 points, respectively, but the Magic got just 15 points from their bench in the loss.
With the win, Miami (56-14) extends its streak to 27 games with a Wednesday matchup against the Chicago Bulls on the horizon. A trip to New Orleans will follow on Friday, but the biggest threats to Miami’s streak will be the San Antonio Spurs (on the road) and New York Knicks (at home) on March 31 and April 2, respectively.
Orlando falls to 18-53 with the loss. The Magic travel to Charlotte Wednesday and return home for a matchup with Washington on Friday.